Running provides for a great cardio workout and is a form of exercise anyone can get started in.
While it is easy to get started, over time running can take quite a toll on your body. The force
your body absorbs from pounding on the pavement is very hard on the body, and if you’re an avid runner, you’ve probably suffered at least one running injury in your lifetime.
While it is easy to get started running, it is just as easy to injure yourself. Keep these tips in
mind to help minimize running injuries:
Stretch. Cold muscles are tight muscles. Stretching enables you to warm up your muscles by
increasing the blood flow to them. It will also help improve your flexibility to help prevent
injuries while also increasing your stride. While most know to stretch prior to their workout, it’s
equally as important to stretch post-workout as well to help ease muscles that may have
become tight during the run.
Ease into your run. While you may be eager to hit the ground running, it is important to ease
into your run and not delve in too aggressively. Start off with a five minute walk followed by a
five minute jog. From there, slowly build up your speed into that of your desired pace. Instead
of abruptly ending your run, be sure to complete a 5-10 minute walk to cool down. If you have
any areas that are experiencing tightness, be sure to stretch those out to conclude your run.
Don’t push yourself too hard. Usually, more harm than good comes from this. You don’t want
to overwork your muscles, tendons and ligaments and if you feel like you are overextending
yourself, you probably are. Let’s say you normally run five miles a night, but you are feeling
ambitious and choose to strive for ten. That is double the amount of time and stress on your
body and your body certainly isn’t used to working that hard. Gradually building up your pace
and the length of your workout is imperative to having an injury-free run. Increase your run by
10% per week until you have reached your optimal goal.
Check your form. Ensuring you have proper form is a great way to prevent injuries. Just like bad
posture at your work desk can wreak havoc on your body, bad form can cause physical distress
as well. Running incorrectly can place strains in the wrong places which can lead to injuries.
Take shorter strides as longer ones can overextend your muscles. Also, focus on landing on the
balls of your feet.
Land soft. It can be hard to be conscious of how you’re landing each step as you are probably
paying attention to the road ahead of you and your speed. Reduce the force of your landing by
being mindful of the way you hit the pavement. Try to land mid-foot and under your hips to
minimize the intensity being placed on your body.
Invest in good running shoes. Further yet, invest in good insoles or orthotics. This will help
cushion your feet and reduce the impact that they endure with every step. Good running shoes
are important, as the amount of force that your feet absorb is equivalent to three times your weight. Also, as a rule of thumb, buy a half-size bigger. If your foot is too snug in your shoe, it
won’t be able to accommodate the swelling that occurs when you run.
Replace your running shoes. There are many factors which can affect the rate at which you
should replace them. Depending on how often you run, the way you run and the surfaces
you’re running on, this will be every 3-6 months or every 400-500 miles. If you see excessive
signs of wear, are experiencing blisters and are sore after your runs, that also means it is time
to replace your shoes. Otherwise, you could be doing yourself more harm than good and
putting yourself at greater risk for injury.